Madison State Capitol


Capitol Drive Madison

Captiol website

Coordinates Lat N 43:04':27" Lon W 89:23':02"  





Good luck Badger outside of Governors office. You rub his nose for good luck



Sculpture by Nellie F Mears located in wing




The Badger overlooks all who enter


Old abe presides over the house of representatives  
find more on "Old Abe" Here  


The sag of Old Abe started in Wisconsin on a spring day in 1861. A band of Flambeau Indians (Chippewa tribe) under the leadership Chief Sky were making their annual spring trip down river to trade for supplies. One night they saw an old eagle hovering around a tall tree. One of the young lads climbed the tree to the nest and the old eagle charged him and had to be shot. The young lad found two eaglets in the nest and brought them down. Continuing on their way, they stopped at Dan McCann’s hoping to trade one of the eagles for a half bushel of corn. After some negotiating Mrs. McCann agreed to the trade.


When company C, Eighth Wisconsin was originated at Eau Clair for Civil War duty Dan McCann offered his eagles services as a mascot. He was pleased they took the bird as Mr. McCann was crippled and unable to serve. The eagle was sworn in the United States service “Old Abe” the mascot and decorated with red white and blue ribbons along with a rosette of the same colors. A stand was made on which he could be carried and in September of 1861 Old Abe went to war.


During battle Old Abe was perfectly magnificent in all of his glory. When the battle commenced he would spread his wings and utter a startling scream that was heard, felt, gloried by all of the soldiers. The fiercer louder the fight , the fiercer and louder were O;d Abe screams.


The confederates called Old Abe the “Yankee Buzzard” General Price orderd his men to capture or shoot him. Price said he would sooner capture Old Abe than a whole regiment of men


The regiment and eagle fought in 42 battles and skirmishes. The only harm to Old Abe was the loss of a few feathers. The Eighth Wisconsin, after threee years of war decided to present “Old Abe” to the State of Wisconsin. A room was fixed up for him in the basement of the State Capital and a man was assigned to take care of him.


His last public appearance was at the National Encampment for the Grand Army Republic (G.A. R.) in Milwaukee. In 1880 General Grant and Old Abe were the honored guests.


In February of 1881, some paints and oils kept in a room near Old Abe’s area caught on fire. Dense clouds of smoke and bad smelling gases filled the corridors and the cage room. Once his cage was opened Old Abe flew out along the corridor. He was not only frightened by the smoke but was suffocating because of the gas fumes in his lungs. He was never well after that. He lived a month longer and on March 28, 1881, with a few of his old friends around him, died in the arms of George Gillis his keeper.


There was much discussion about what to do with it the remains of Old Abe. It was decided that he be stuffed and put on display in the G A.R. Museum located in the State Capitol. In 1904 the State Capitol burned down and the stuffed body of Old Abe was lost the fire.


Since 1915 a replica of Old Abe has been on display at the State Capitol in the Assembly Chambers. As the legend goes a farmer from the area found a dead eagle in his field and offered it to the state of Wisconsin as a replacement for our famous “WAR EAGLE”


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